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Electric scooter program rolls into final review in Alexandria this week

Electronic scooters could become a permanent part of the city ordinance this Saturday (Nov. 13) even as they head into their seasonal decline.

The approval comes after nearly two years of the program being in a pilot phase — even as scooter usage in Alexandria heads into its seasonal decline. Ridership typically falling to less than 10,000 trips city-wide between December and March. The chart also shows that scooter usage hasn’t come close to reaching its pre-pandemic highs in April and May 2019, though 2021 was still a stronger year for scooter usage than 2020 was. In spring 2020, scooter usage fell abysmally low, despite scooters being encouraged as a healthier alternative to riding the bus or carpooling.

Scooter usage by month and year, image via City of Alexandria

The city also included language in the pilot program that required companies to spread their scooters out more equitably to other parts of the city outside of the tourism hotspots like Del Ray and Old Town. Despite this, actual usage still is heavily weighted in favor of the southeast corner of the city. The requirement for companies to deploy at least 30% of their fleet inside “equity zones” across the city will be carried over into the city ordinance.

Heatmap of scooter parking, image via City of Alexandria

The ordinance includes a variety of requirements developed over the course of the program to alleviate concerns about scooter parking on private property or blocking the public right of way.

“Permit holders shall work to ensure that Micromobility Devices are parked in a manner that does not impede pedestrian access; does not obstruct access to fire hydrants and valves, street furniture, crosswalks, driveways, or private property; does not damage landscaping, street trees or other aesthetic features; and does not interfere with traffic or bus stop operations or operation and use of Capital Bikeshare stations,” the ordinance said. Failure to adhere to these parking requirements may result in the City removing the Micromobility Device, with the Permit holder responsible for all costs associated with removal and storage of Micromobility Devices so removed, in addition to any applicable fines or fees, or other penalties as appropriate under the law.”

The full ordinance and regulatory requirements are available on the city docket (item 33).

The Permanent Dockless Mobility Program is headed to City Council review tomorrow (Tuesday) before a final vote at a public hearing this Saturday.

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